Postmen battle on despite the pandemic challenges in West Norfolk
Postmen continue to provide a essential service for West Norfolk despite the difficult challenges presented by Covid-19.
West Norfolk county councillor Alex Kemp has expressed concern over postmen’s safety being put at risk with those based in rural offices such as West Winch, Clenchwarton and Middleton being relocated to the Austin Fields office in Lynn.
She said this will cause social distancing issues as there are already more than 150 postmen working in the main office.
Ms Kemp wrote to North West Norfolk MP saying it is “disgraceful” for the Royal Mail to be pushing this out during lockdown and to treat postmen in a “callous way”.
Royal Mail has not responded when approached for comment on this issue but a Post Office spokesperson said: “We understand that people are concerned about the future of their local post office.
“We have been in contact with the postmasters at each branch to understand the issues with regards to the decision by Royal Mail to remove mailwork services and to offer them financial support.
“The area manager is also in regular contact with the postmaster.”
North West Norfolk MP James Wild said: "I expressed my concerns to Royal Mail last year on behalf of local postmasters at the proposed change in these services and asked them to consult properly before finalising the decision.
"I understand Royal Mail have provided a contractual six months notification period up to March 2021 and a further twelve month compensation package.
"Where there is a threat to viability the Post Office has funding available to ensure continuity of service.”
One local postman, who did not wish to be named, explained how he has been extra cautious when delivering mail to ensure he does not catch the coronavirus.
He said: “Fairly early on we were told to put parcels on steps. I have adhered to the regulations because I do not want to pick up the virus and bring it back to my family.
“We are doing what we can on a daily basis to be as careful as possible. We do not know if people have got it [Covid-19] so you have to keep a distance from everyone.
“Occasionally it is is impossible but I am now wearing a mask outside the whole time. It is not comfortable but with this new strain of the virus, it has given me peace of mind.”
The postman has also been carrying an anti-bacterial bottle in his bag, as well as keeping additional supplies in his van.
He also washes his hands at every opportunity.
“It’s been difficult but I have been doing it for nine to 10 months now so it has become second nature,” the postman continued.
“Hopefully it won’t be too long until it is back to normal.”
The new chief executive of Royal Mail, Simon Thompson said: “Against the backdrop of a challenging year, our colleagues have once again demonstrated the invaluable service they provide for our communities up and down the country.
“Looking ahead, we need to build on the great trust we have on the doorstep. We need to develop a razor-sharp focus on the customer, making sure our services are delivering exactly what our customers need and want.”
Lynn News readers have been full of praise for the hard work of postmen during the pandemic.
Many have commented on our Facebook page to say the posties deserve praise for continuing the service despite issues with some having to self-isolate.
Tina Hampton commented: “Our postman is brilliant but he is having to do two rounds to cover for a sick colleague as are many more, and in some areas there is no one left to cover.”
Simon Lovelock added: “I have had a couple of small problems, but they are doing a great job in unprecedented circumstances. The posties around here are all friendly. I have no complaints.”
Terrington St Clement resident Julie Stewart said a Christmas hamper was purchased to show appreciation for a postwoman in her village.
And Shernborne resident Hannah Whyman-Naveh said: “I think the postal service is doing a marvellous job considering the circumstances.”
Last Wednesday, the Lynn News was contacted by a Gaywood resident who said he had not received any post since Friday.
But borough councillor Sandra Collop, who represents the Gaywood North Bank Ward, said she was not aware of any major issues apart from late delivery on Monday.